New Mexico Candidate Says He's 'Not Proud' of Gay Adult Film Past

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday October 6, 2020

A candidate for the New Mexico State House of Representatives took to Facebook to respond to a right-wing outlet's report that he appeared in gay adult films almost forty years ago, reports local newspaper the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Democratic candidate Roger Montoya acknowledged having worked in the adult film industry in his Oct. 5 Facebook post, reported the Albuquerque Journal.

"When I was asked to run for the State House, I knew Republicans and their allies would bring up whatever they could find to discredit me," Montoya wrote in his post, adding that he "decided to not let the fact of something I did nearly forty years ago, in a very different time and climate, prevent me from running."

Montoya said that at the time he was 22, living in Los Angeles, and "a struggling college student" who was also "a modern dancer and performer" who was determined to pay his own way.

The candidate acknowledged that he worked on two adult films, and added, "I am not proud of that choice, as I was young and nave, but those experiences helped me to understand the exploitation young people face."

Montoya went on to add: "Those experiences do not reflect who I am, and they are insignificant in the scope of my life's work, yet they helped inspire my dedication to my community and the work I do to make sure that youth have opportunities, support and confidence."

Multiple media outlets noted that Montoya was named a "CNN Hero" in 2019 by the cable news channel for having established a community arts center in the New Mexico town of Espaola.

CNN's profile on Montoya noted that he was a professional dancer in the 1980s when, having lost friends and his own partner to HIV, and being HIV-positive himself, Montoya returned to New Mexico feeling that he was going to die soon. But he did not succumb; he turned to painting and eventually founded Moving Arts Espaola.

"If the Republican Party chooses to focus on something I did nearly four decades ago rather than how hard I will work to bring back our devastated economy, provide healthcare, create new jobs and industries, to improve our public schools, to fix our crumbling infrastructure, and to protect our land, acequias and our way of life, that is their choice," Montoya wrote in his Facebook post.

"I trust the voters to make a better choice because we have so much at stake this November."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.